Wild dog population on rise in Nallamala

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A pack of five to nine wild dogs can successfully face a lion or tiger

Anantapur: The wild dog population is increasing in Nallamala and Seshachalam forests in the state, with 1,500 being its current number in the Nallamala forest. Wild dogs eat living animals, they are diurnal hunters of the antelope, which they chase to exhaustion before going in for the kill. A pack of five to nine wild dogs can successfully face a lion or tiger or other wild animal and chase them to a distance, running at a speed of 100 km per hour, Tirupati DFO K. Subba Reddy said.

The census graph of wild dogs is showing an increase in all parts of the state’s dense forests. Last year, only two dogs were caught on CC cameras, installed in the forest area of Mahanandi in Kurnool district. “But, more than eight dogs in a pack were identified in Mahanandi recently,” range officer Abdul Khadir said. The wild dog population was on decline earlier due to habitat fragmentation, human persecution and disease outbreaks. But, now they have survival power equal to other wild animals with their capacity to hunt for prey.

The wild dog is a highly social animal, living in packs with separate dominance hierarchies for males and females. What is unique about them among other social carnivores is that it’s the females rather than the males that scatter from the natal pack once sexually mature.

They also let the young feed first on carcasses, forest officials said. “They are naturally found in low numbers, have suffered heavily from local perceptions as problem predators and “livestock killers”. And, like all other Asian forest species, they too face massive habitat loss due to rampant deforestation. They neither mingle with other packs nor with local dogs,” Tirupati DFO Subba Reddy said, they being a part of the ecological equilibrium.

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